The Eastern Wayne High School band recently participated in the Spirit of the Cardinal Band Competition in Charlotte, coming away with six first-place finishes and two second-place awards.

The award-winning marching band, concert band and jazz ensemble are led by Bobby Sherard, band director for the past four years.

"The band competition consisted of schools from Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina," he said. "Last year, the band did not get a chance to compete due to the effect of the hurricane season at competition sites."

The 80-member marching band earned high marks in the following categories -- first place for dance line, color guard, marching, percussion, general effect and overall Class 2A, plus second place for music and drum major.

"Eastern Wayne High School was the only local school competing the competition," Sherard said, explaining that there are two styles of marching that a band that compete in, corps style and traditional high step.

Corps style was established as an extension of military drill and ceremony movements, he said, while traditional high step has evolved into a high knee lift style of marching that involves dancing and high energy.

EWHS is the only traditional high step marching band in the county, the band director added.

Sherard called the outcome of the contest a "great way to start the new competition season."

"The band also plans to compete at Dillon High School in S.C., Dudley High School in Greensboro and E.E. Smith High School in Fayetteville," he said.